We finally have the taste of victory and it was awesome. Now, the Blues have to take what they did in Game 3 and keep the pedal to the metal on this Vancouver team. It was possibly the best game that the Blues have played in their return to Edmonton and it felt like, at least at 5-on-5, that the Blues smelled a bit of fear from the Vancouver side. Here’s the “Ferrario Five” from Game 3.
JAKE ALLEN WAS THE ANSWER
This was exactly what the Blues needed, a breath of fresh air in between the pipes. Do not read between the lines here as me saying that Binnington is a problem or not a #1 goaltender, that is not true. Did you see his play in Round Robin? It comes down to needing the big time saves and Binner was not giving them to the Blues in the first two games of this series. Allen did just that in the 2nd and 3rd periods, as well as, overtime. Three breakaway chances, 5 odd-man rushes, two powerplay chances and plenty of traffic in front of the net. Allen’s big-time saves led to a spark of energy for the Blues to get to their game.
AT 5-ON-5, THE BLUES ARE THE BEST
This was something that we felt in both games so far against Vancouver, it just wasn’t put together for a full 60 minutes and penalties disrupted that feeling. That changed in Game 3. From the moment the Blues allowed a consistent push from Vancouver and Allen came up with a few big time saves, the Blues unloaded. The refs did a superb job of swallowing the whistles and letting playoff hockey take over, and that’s the Blues area of expertise. The Game Flow chart shows from the middle of the second period until the end of the game, it was all St. Louis. Four lines on the ice with consistent rushes in the offensive zone and plenty of shots going into the pads of Markstrom. If this series stays at even-strength, the Blues will be headed to the 2nd round.
BLUES BROUGHT THE PHYSICALITY
Coming into this series the Canucks thought they were going to get into the heads of the Blues. Extra shoves after the whistle, extra whacks at the goalie and plenty of hits. What they don’t know is that is the Blues bread and butter. It felt in the third period last night, the Blues were in the heads of the Canucks with their extra play. David Perron is a pest to the young Canucks defenseman making them take extra hits, he’s always in Markstrom’s grill which is frazzling the goaltender. The Blues had 49 hits in Game 3 and it felt like they wore down the Canucks by the end of the game because it was even-strength for so long. For a moment, it seemed as if the Blues could smell the fear of the Canucks.
PLAYERS THAT SUBBED IN, STEPPED UP
You wouldn’t believe how many tweets I received before puck drop last night about how “Berube was throwing in the towel by sitting Tarasenko and Steen”. This team found a way to win 42 games without long stretches without key players because of their depth. That’s what they had last night. Key players that were asked to step in, stepped up. Jacob de la Rose was a solid presence in the face-off going 50% and playing key minutes on the penalty kills. MacEachern brought the physical presence at even-strength to the 4th line and Jordan Kyrou was one of the best players on the ice. 4 shot attempts and shifted to the top-line late in the game to utilize his speed and create offense. He was an element that the Canucks didn’t expect in this series and I would believe Kyrou won’t be exiting the line-up anytime soon.
JUSTIN FAULK WAS A FACTOR
Here’s something zero Blues fans expected to read, Faulk was the best player on the ice in Game 3. His confidence was through the roof in the defensive zone with the physicality and moving the puck North to South. Offensively, he was jumping into play on the rush and creating plenty of shots for the forwards in front of the net. 11 shot attempts in Game 3, 4 on goal and a key goal in the 2nd to jump start the offense. Faulk was noticeable on the ice to not only the fans, but Craig Berube due to him shifting him from the 3rd pairing, to the 2nd pairing with Parayko and a few shifts with Pietrangelo. He played the 3rd most ice-time on the Blues roster with over 25 minutes. If Faulk can continue that effect on the ice, the Blues will be a tough team to eliminate, once again.
AP Photo/Ray Carlin